#Swag (GearShark #3)@Cambria Hebert Page 0,1

I would ever submit to. My father knew this, yet still, sometimes he tried. Well, not necessarily to defeat me. More like sway me. Change my mind.

It rarely happened… me changing my mind.

It wasn’t going to happen now, with this. I could guarantee it.

Still, here I was. Sitting in my father’s study after being summoned to what I knew was going to be yet another attempt at swaying my decision.

Balancing a clear, rounded tumbler in my palm, full of top-shelf scotch, I waited for my father to finish his phone call. The leather club chair was soft and supportive against my back. I relaxed into it and sipped at the amber liquid. I liked the warm trail it left as it slid down my throat. It was comforting somehow. Familiar.

Most people would be nervous as hell being beckoned by Ron Gamble. They definitely wouldn’t be relaxing in a chair and watching him with open interest bordering on boredom as he finished up some mundane but necessary business call.

I was his daughter, and the chair I was sitting in had been in this room since I was born. The man sitting behind the desk, admittedly intimidating, wasn’t just a powerful man to me. He was the man I spent every Christmas morning with, unwrapping gifts and drinking hot chocolate.

A lot of people didn’t know it, but Ron Gamble wasn’t just all about business.

He might have always wanted a son, but he never treated me with any kind of disdain or disappointment. I knew he loved me from the time I was born. He never acted like I was a chore or even a bother. I was the one who felt the need to prove I was worthy of the love he’d already given me.

Another round of scotch slipped across my tongue as he hung up the phone. Anticipation had me sitting up a little straighter. I wasn’t nervous to talk to him, but I knew I was likely in for yet another fight.

He wasn’t just my father. He was my sponsor. It was his company, his money, that paid for my racecar and entry fees into the big pro races. I was part of the racing team he built. So technically, he was my boss.

Did I mention I wasn’t too great with authority?

It led to some shouting matches over the years.

My newest decision was the conduit for the most recent ones.

I wasn’t up for it tonight, the arguing. But I would do it, because letting anyone see I was tired wasn’t an option. Instead, I took another gulp of the alcohol and sharpened my gaze.

Dad was still dressed for the office, even though it was almost eight o’clock at night. He’d been home a few hours, but he’d come directly in here to work. I hadn’t been home when he first arrived, but I didn’t have to be. I was familiar with his routines.

His suit jacket was draped over the back of his chair, the tie around his neck long gone, and the white sleeves of his dress shirt were pushed up. A glass that looked just like the one in my hand was at his elbow, empty.

Papers covered his desk, but not in an unorganized way. I knew without asking he could likely recite every single document in front of him, and he knew exactly where each sheet of paper belonged.

“Need a refill?” I asked, gesturing to his glass. The salt-and-pepper look in his full head of dark hair didn’t make him look any older than his fifty-five years; it just made him seem more distinguished.

“Wouldn’t say no.” He pushed the glass toward me with one finger.

I abandoned my own glass to a nearby table and crossed for the bottle of scotch. “Long day?” I asked when it was full and already at his lips.

“Even dreams take work, kid,” he replied.

It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that sentiment from his lips; it wouldn’t be the last. I never really understood it until I started racing. A dream is just that. A wistful thought, a want. Sure, dreams come true… but in most cases, they did so because it was something that was worked toward.

Gamble wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was born to his parents (my grandparents), who struggled their entire lives to make ends meet. His father worked two jobs, sometimes more, to feed his family, and his mother cleaned homes for other people.

Everything he had today was a result of his own effort